Welcome to Empirical Purple

A blog by Simon Brady to cover a surprisingly wide range of geekiness, in a combination that no-one else does quite the same way. Probably. Either that, or it'll just be Simon talking about the likes of Football (usually the Soccer variety), PC & Tabletop Gaming, WWE, Movies, Music and occasionally even my actual job of Graphic Design, depending on what I'm up to in the world.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nostalgia Gaming, courtesy Steam

Ah, the golden era of gaming.

Golden, of course, only to people who are, let's say, 25-35 and were playing games that came on six floppy disks on their 486 SVGA IBM-compatible PCs.

Because, let's face it, the graphics are limited. In today's photo-realistic world of Rage, Gears of War, etc, the likes of Lucasarts' finest 90s adventure games (in the form of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, for instance) just don't stand up. Fortunately, though, some of us grew up playing on a ZX Spectrum, which makes Minecraft look like the Final Fantasy film.

Gameplay-wise, though, nothing stands up to Indy. Or Day of the Tentacle. Or Sam and Max. As much as the likes of Knights of the Old Republic receive praise for their storytelling or adventure content, the puzzles of Lucasarts' classics are simply better.

Indy was available on Steam, so I had a cheeky download of it to see how much it stood up to nostalgia of the past. I had only two criticisms of it - which is not a lot, for how critical I am of games in general.

1) Indy's voice isn't Harrison Ford. It's close, a passable impression, but not Indy. There's very little one could do about that, bar doubling the original game's budget. I never had the CD-ROM version of the game, way back when, so simply read the text. With sound files added, it certainly boosted the experience I remembered.

2) There's no save feature. This is specific to the Steam version, though. In the old days, the Function keys would load, save and start new game. Now, no matter what you press, you can eithe take a screenshot or start a new game. That's it. Crap.

These sorts of games are not small. Sure you can complete them in a few hours, minimum, but how often do you have that long to sit down and finish a game from start to finish? Worse, still, with Indy that you have three different Paths (Wits for puzzles, Fists for fighting and Team for using Sophia also) to complete all the puzzles before you get the maximum Indy Quotient points. So, in order to 'complete' the game fully, for the 100%ers out there, you need three full sittings - which is too much for my taste, so thumbs down there, Steam.

The game itself, though, is still top notch. Still brilliant after almost 20 years. Game designers take note, graphics aren't the be-all and end-all. Make the game great, and no-one will care about how immersively realistic the graphics are, because the game has already immersed them.

Just like this one immersed me again.

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